If you desire the pearliest whites but don't care to spend your hard-earned money on expensive dental treatments or lack the patience to peel and apply those flimsy films, then I suggest you stop by your local Target and pick up a pack of generic Target-brand Whitening Wraps. Though I was unconvinced that a generic 7-day “wrap” kit could compete in the major league, a full trial proved that Target provides a superior product that not only performs well, but also manages to cut out common frustrations associated with application.

On a lazy Sunday a few weekends ago, I went shopping at Target (pronounced “Tar-jay,” of course) with my boyfriend, who, despite being rather carefree cosmetically, is hyper vigilant when it comes to oral hygiene and tooth appearance. In an effort to achieve movie-star whiteness, we have tried everything from professional bleaching treatments with trays and lasers to omnipresent strips, abrasive toothpastes, and special toothbrushes, all in all adding up to a modicum of success and a pretty significant dent in our piggy banks.

After reflecting on our many treatments, the ultimate lesson we took away was that price does not necessarily guarantee better results. On a whim, we passed by Target’s oral care aisle and decided to compare the various available whitening products. With a price point at nearly half of its name-brand counterparts, Target’s whitening wraps appeared to be a unique and inexpensive alternative.

The first thing that stood out about Target’s product was its design. I had assumed that the difference between the Target-brand product and comparable brand-name products was simply an apprehensive legal department and potential proprietary rights. It was a pleasant surprise to find that the wraps actually do just what they suggest: wrap! Instead of slimy strips that can slip around the teeth, Target’s whitening kit consists of waxy wraps that firmly adhere to the teeth. Whereas strips are often flimsy and difficult to remove, Target's wraps have a solid construction, mimicking a small waxy mouth-guard.

Just like the average mouthful of teeth, the upper set of wraps is larger than the lower set. The waxy back flap bends over the backside of the teeth, much in the same way as the garments for a paper doll are held in place. Application of the wraps is intuitive, and both top and bottom rows stay sheathed with no slippage during the recommended span of time. The only downside to Target's bulky wax design is that throughout the whitening process, you'll sport a mouthful of blue teeth and a lisp. Not exactly a treatment to try in public, which traditional whitening strips typically permit.

But with the wraps, I found that I could depress the wax into the cracks and crevices of my front upper and lower teeth, thus ensuring that the whitening potion would zap every trace of yellow. What comprises this whitening potion is the same enamel-safe ingredients used by dentists. PVP, or polyvinylpyrrolidone, is a substance that helps prevent new stains from adhering to teeth. It is also present in the original Rembrandt whitening system, the overpriced professional BrightSmile treatment, and the on-the-run GoSmile whitening ampoules.

Hydrogen peroxide, one of the most common active ingredients in whitening products, can cause severe tooth sensitivity in proportion to its strength in the formula. Target's wraps seem to contain the perfect concentration, managing to whiten without seriously irritating gums. I must stress that this balance is only achieved if you closely follow instructions, which indicate that the strips should be used twice a day for 30 minutes over seven days. Exceed the thirty-minute allotment (as I did on one occasion), and you'll be tempting the sensitivity demons.

Unlike smaller, slip-happy strips, which often lose their hold and leave a large swathe of teeth untreated, Target's wraps actually mold to your teeth. Besides application and construction, the wraps also improve on their competition by providing more coverage, meaning more teeth are whitened. After a full week of targeting our tooth discolorations with Target wraps, we both noticed a dramatic difference. Altogether, Target's price, comfort, and results outshine every other teeth whitening product we've tried.


PVP, Water, PEG-8, Acrylates Copolymer, Hydrogen Peroxide, Sodium Saccharin, Disodium EDTA, Poloxamer 407.